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Wellington Phoenix forward Paul Ifill makes racism accusation in Reds loss

Ifill took to Twitter to announce he had been abused by fans at Hindmarsh Stadium, with Adelaide United set to investigate the matter

GOAL.com Indonesia   By CHRISTIAN MAMMONE


Controversy has soured Wellington Phoenix's crushing 3-1 defeat to Adelaide United on Sunday with reports that star midfielder Paul Ifill was allegedly racially abused by a spectator during the A-League match at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Ifill is suspected to have been called a derogatory racial term when he was substituted from the ground in the 61st minute of Adelaide's 3-1 victory over Wellington.

Wellington coach Ricki Herbert preferred not to comment on the alleged incident.

"It's not for me to confirm or deny, its best to go through that process and talk to Adelaide," Herbert said.

"There are a few comments we've shared with club officials and I'm sure they will explain it."

But Ifill took to his Twitter account to share his disappointment at what occurred.

"Bad times poor result and racist abuse from a very small minority of fans," Ifill tweeted.

Adelaide United are aware of the situation and will investigate the matter, according to a club spokesman.

The Phoenix had a mountain to climb on Sunday after trailing Adelaide 3-0 at half-time.

A brace to influential Argentine import Marcelo Carrusca, who also assisted for Fabio Ferreira's goal, put the Reds on course for their eighth win of the season at the break.

But Wellington struck back in the second half courtesy of Dani Sanchez's late consolation.

Despite the missed opportunities, Herbert said he was proud of his troops for responding in the second stanza after a "bizarre first half".

Herbert credited the introductions of substitutes Tyler Boyd and Ben Totori along with Louis Fenton for injecting pace and causing mayhem in the final third as the Phoenix went in search of a result.

"I can't speak highly enough of the team... I thought we were the best team in the second half," Herbert said.

"We had to do something in the second half after we copped three pretty basic goals.

"3-0 down is a hard position to be in, but we rung the changes and I thought the young ones were excellent.

"There was a goal scored that wasn't given ... we missed a penalty, Louis should have scored an open goal, and it would have made for a fascinating finish to the game."

Wellington co-owner Gareth Morgan was vocal in the media earlier this week, demanding more of Herbert and a desire to see the team play a more attractive and attacking brand of football.

Herbert felt Sunday's performance took an important step in that direction.

"It was arguably one of our better attacking performances of the season against a side who is playing well and at home are extremely difficult to beat," Herbert said.

"We've had this release back home about building towards a more free-flowing type of football... and in my own opinion I've applauded that.

"Sunday you saw some of the work in progress... it gave us that feeling that we are on the right track."

Reds coach John Kosmina, meanwhile, praised returning captain Eugene Galekovic after playing through pain.

Kosmina revealed Galekovic had "a bit of a dodgy ankle" injury that had resurfaced, and applauded his shot-stopper's second-half penalty stop.

The goalkeeper dived to his right to save Boyd's penalty one-handed, before springing up to block the rebound from that was destined for the net.

The spectacular saves brought the Hindmarsh crowd to their feet and earned a rousing reception from team-mates.

"[It was a ] great way to finish a game. You want to finish a game on a high and you couldn’t ask for anything better than that," Kosmina said.

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